Tag Archives: Travel Notebook

Azores: São Miguel Island

From Ponta Delgada To Furnas

Chá Gorreana

Yesterday I was in the small island (and gem) Santa Maria. Today, we discover the largest island of the Azores archipelago São Miguel with an area of 744.7 km ². Same team and awakening to dawns! We drive to the tea plantations.

After the tea of the Seychelles, the one of the Azores! So we visit of the Chá Gorreana family factory which produces organic tea. In the photos above and videos below: some key steps in the manufacture of tea (from leaf to tea bag). 

 

 

If you have trouble watching the videos, refresh the page and move the cursor a bit forwad on the timeline. And if it doesn’t work, do not hesitate to leave me a comment.. 

 

 

Next: Furnas

Poça da Dona Beija

Arriving at Furnas, we head towards the Poça da Dona Beija thermal baths with ferruginous spring water (photos above). I really enjoy the setting: the garden at the entrance of the complex reminded me of Kyoto. I guess I miss Japan.

Unfortunately I didn’t have time to test the water’s benefits. Our timing is tight. We are on our way to the geysers in another area of Furnas (picture below). 

Caldeiras Termas

A lunar landscape with boiling water wells and smoke. It’s fascinating and mostly because these geysers are so close to homes (photos and videos below).

 

 

At Furnas Lake

End Of Cooking The Lunch

A short drive to Furnas Lake to attend the last step of cooking the Cozido das Furnas, a traditional dish cooked in the earth (quite similar to the French Pot au feu). The attraction is very touristy, but it is not annoying as the landscape around is beautiful!

Each restaurant has a dedicated “oven” (a deep hole in the earth), where the meal has cooked for several hours. A reduced team of men digs up to take the dish out of the earth. Then loaded in a van trunk, it will be delivered to the corresponding restaurant. For us: the restaurant of the Terra Nostra Garden Hotel. 

  

 

The Terra Nostra Garden Hotel

A Smart Art Deco Hotel

We have lunch at the cosy Terra Nostra Garden Restaurant. The art Deco interior evokes the felted world of Hercule Poirot (the super star detective of Agatha Christie)!

Our main dish, the Cozido das Furnas is made up of different meats and vegetables cooked “à l’étouffée” (sort of a steamed stew). I defenitly like the local bread, its texture is close to the pancake, so delicious!

Then a long walk in the Terra Nostra Botanical Park with the huge 35-40 ° ferruginous thermal pool and superb gardens with over 2000 species of trees and a magnificent collection of camellias (video and photos below ). Yes, I love camellias! 

 

Before Leaving Furnas

A coffee at the Furnas Boutique Hotel (pictures below), decorated by Nini Andrade Silva (yes again!). In my article about Ponta Delgada, you can see her interior design for the Azor Hotel. 

Third photo below (and video): the wide swimming pool of the Pedras Do Mar Resort & Spa where we tasted some Gins of the Azores in late afternoon! More original than an umpteenth cocktail! And nice minimalist contemporary interior design.

  

 

Dinner At The Caloura Bar In Lagoa

  

In A Small Creek

Close to fishing boats, we dinner at the Caloura Bar in a friendly genuine atmosphere. The grilled fish is really fresh and tasty!

The Next Day

Before The Plane

Already our last morning in the Azores! Early departure to the Ponta Delgada market where I buy cheeses to offer (the “scent” in the suitcase, lololol!). Then we arrive at the soothing Lake Fogo, located in a nature reserve (photos and latest video below).

And we are lucky, nobody’s on the site! Short walk to one of the peaks around the lake. I am super happy (I need to exercise). But quickly, we have to go down and to rush to the airport! We’re almost late! 

 

  

 

Bye Bye Awesome Azores!

Sete Cidades  

A last view of the Green and Blue Lakes, which according to legend have been formed by the tears of a pastor and a princess having a forbidden love.

Question (from a former student in Anthropology): why are lakes and waterfalls often the results of forbidden love in different cultures? If you have any explanation, you’re welcome to leave a comment below! 

At midday, the Ponta Delgada airport. Next stop : Cascais via Lisbon … and I hope an ice cream at Santini!

 

Photos & vidéos : © Mademoiselle Le K – Tous droits réservés.

Informations  

Visit AzoresVisit PortugalTAP

Related articles : HOTEL REVIEWS & DESTINATIONS

Many thanks to Visit Azores, Visit Portugal and TAP for this superb invitation. As always, these are my opinions.

Azores: My Addresses In Ponta Delgada

24 Hours in Ponta Delgada

A Walk in The Historical Center

First day of my trip to the Azores, where I will discover two islands of this beautiful Atlantic Ocean archipelago, São Miguel and Santa Maria. I am super excited, cause I’ve wanted visiting the Azores for a long time!

Départ aux aurores de Bruxelles vers Ponta  Delgada (capitale des Açores sur l’île de São Miguel), via Lisbonne avec la TAP. Nous arrivons en milieu de journée. Le temps est changeant, couvert avec des éclaircies. Mais ça fait partie du charme de l’archipel, les 4 saisons en un jour. 

In the old city, time seems to be stopped, with imposing monuments (Portas da Cidade de Ponta Delgada, 1783) and churches (Igreja Matriz de São Miguel) dating from the sixteenth century. Cobbled streets, green squares, some brightly colored facades (photos below) … 

  

Where To Sip A Tea From The Azores

Louvre Michaelense

Take time to get lost in the city! Take time to get lost. That’s how I found my address: where to sip a tea from the Azores!  

Louvre Michaelense is both a shop (photo 3 above), a tea room (2) and a delicatessen (1). It offers a selection of rare objects and sought local products, with regressive packaging in an ancient framework. The concept reminded me of A Vida Portuguese (in Lisbon). A friendly trendy spot.

Where To Sleep

  

La Casa das Palmeiras

I first saw from a distance the roof of the house that contrasted with the local architecture. Built in 1901, La Casa das Palmeiras is more like one of these Art Nouveau villas on the French Riviera. Recently renovated, this small hotel with 10 rooms is a gem. Perfect for an elegant weekend.

Awesome adress, less is more!   

    

What’s up?

Discovering Street art

What a fantastic surprise! I am a creative (photographer, former art director). So imagine my happiness walking and seeing these amazing Street art works in Ponta Delgada! Oups, I really apology, I lost my notes with the titles of the art works and names of the artists.

 

Where To Drink & Dinner

The Panoramic Terrace of The Azor Hotel

It is always a great pleasure for me to stay or dinner in a hotel decorated by Nini Andrade Silva! I love her work and personality. She has this ability to dramatize space and create unique universes in which we feel good.

After a long time on the relaxing terrace of the Azor Hotel, we dine at the restaurant A Terra Fornaria. The food (promoting local ingredients) and service are great. Definitely my chic address from Ponta Delgada!

 

Photos & vidéos : © Mademoiselle Le K – Tous droits réservés.

Informations  

Visit AzoresVisit Portugal, TAPLouvre Michaelense, Street art with Walk & Talk AzoresCasa das Palmeiras – Charming House, Azor Hotel

Related articles : HOTEL REVIEWS & DESTINATIONS

Many Thanks to Visit Azores, Visit Portugal and TAP for this beautiful invitation. As always these are my opinions.

Seychelles: 7 Things To Do In Mahé

1. To Go Around The Most Beautiful Bays

Road Trip

Travel at your own pace! The island tour of Mahé is on average 2h30. It took me the double and I don’t think I saw it all. Depends on your curiosity. You can rent a car, or a taxi.

It is an excellent way to discover the littoral with beautiful bays like Anse Louis, Anse Boileau, Anse Lazare, Anse Takamaka (…), as well as the interior of the island and the mountains. I prefered the beaches of the south of the island (wilder and quieter) than the more lively northern ones.

2. To Discover The Mountains of The Island

Tea Plantations And Hiking Trails

As always during the hottest hours, I seek the freshness. So we go up to Mission Lodge that offers one of the most beautiful views of the island. The road crosses big plantations of teas, forests with gigantic trees and marked hiking trails!

I regret not having brought my hiking shoes and planning a hike. It will be for a future trip! Frankly for many of us, you don’t think of hiking in the Seychelles! And I was wrong! 

    

3. Venn’s Town, Mission Lodge

A Bit of History

After the abolition of slavery in 1835, Mission Lodge, formerly Venn’s Town, became a missionary school for freed African slaves (for more details see photo 3 below).

Today, Mission Lodge is part of the largest national park in the Seychelles: the Morne Seychellois National Parc which represents more than 20% of the area of Mahe. 

     

Photomontage below: some of the different tree species (endemic or introduced) that can be seen at the Morne Seychellois National Park

4. Lunch at The Eden Island Marina

Yatchs, Sailboats … And Chili

This pleasant marina can accommodate yachts of more than a hundred meters! Stunning! If you need at midday to enjoy a beautiful view without suffering from the heat, I recommend a long lunch break in one of the restaurants in the Eden Island Marina. Chic relaxed atmosphere (photos 2 and 3 of the photomontage below).

Above: Photo 1. I learn how to eat a creole dish very very spicy. The fish is covered with a sauce with pieces of chilli (type pili pili). Tips of the waitress: to mix a small piece of the ultra-spicy fish with a little rice and tomato sauce. Eat very slowly and stop to chat with friends, then eat very slowly again! 4, the fruit of the children: I discovered the Santol with a bitter and sweet taste. Very good.

  

5. To Visit Victoria

The Smallest Captital City in The World 

I went to Victoria quickly and enjoyed the little market in Market St. (pictured above). There is a little bit of everything: food but also (for exemples), beautiful bouquets of exotic flowers, a myriad of natural coconut oils and tea produced in the Seychelles

Pictures below: 1 and 2, fresh fish market located opposite the hindu temple, Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinayagar, 3, La Domus, and 4. the Victoria Clocktower.

    

6. To Decipher The Word “Takamaka”

A Bay or Rum?

Lol! I help you: it is a very nice bay, the Anse Takamaka (have a look to the two penultimate pictures of the first paragraph). And it’s also the name of the famous rum Takamaka produced at La Plaine St André (photos 2, 3 & 4 of the estate and distillery). I tasted a tear of the Takamaka Coconut Rum, because the other rums were far too strong for me!

On the road, I stopped at the University of Seychelles (photo 1 above). Yes, knowledge in Paradise.

7. Sunset in Beau Vallon

The Post Card

What could be more exciting than this beautiful sunset on the lively Beau Vallon beach (in the North of the island)? We had delicious giant mocktails (non-alcoholic cocktails) at the Coral Asia (the best sushi restaurant in Mahé according to a local friend). You can also eat grilled fresh fish on the promenade that runs along the beach.

Bye bye gorgeous Seychelles, I will go back!

Photos : © Mademoiselle Le K – Tous droits réservés.

Informations  

Seychelles Tourism BoardAir Seychelles

Where to sleep : ,  & 

Related posts : DESTINATIONS & HOTEL REVIEWS

Many thanks to the Seychelles Tourism Board and Air Seychelles for this fantastic discovery of the Seychelles islands.